Loughborough University (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2017 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 5156-5165
ISBN: 978-84-697-6957-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.1357
Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain
Mobile platforms are now part of young people’s life. Their pervasiveness makes them an ideal vehicle for the development of educational content both for classroom activities and informally. The possibility of learning anytime and anywhere is one of the most remarkable features of mobile learning. The past years have seen a great increase in mobile learning, alongside a larger offer of contents and technological possibilities and a greater interest among people in buying and using mobile platforms. Mobile technologies are becoming more embedded, ubiquitous and networked, with enhanced capabilities for rich social interactions, context awareness and internet connectivity. As a consequence of the technological advances and the widespread use of mobile devices to access information and communication in the last decades, mobile learning has become a spontaneous learning model, providing a more flexible and collaborative technology-based learning (Castillo-Manzano, Castro-Nuño, López-Valpuesta, Sanz-Díaz, & Yñiguez, 2017). Thus, mobile technologies can create new opportunities for enhancing the pupils’ learning experiences. According to Naismith et al. (2004), such technologies can have a great impact on learning (Naismith, Lonsdale, Vavoula, & Sharples, 2004).

The paper describes the results of a comparative study between two countries (Portugal and UK) with regard to the relationship between technologies and the process of learning/teaching in science of pupils and teachers. Specifically, it intends to investigate the pupils’ modes of gaining information about science by using different platforms and their relationship with the mobile technologies in an educational context. At the same time, this study intends to understand the use of mobile platforms and applications by teachers including their use in classroom activities. The study uses a quantitative methodology and the data were collected by means of an online survey. The survey was administered to pupils who were studying science in years 7, 8, 9 (12 to 14 years) and to teachers of six schools in Portugal and three schools in the UK. A total of 131 pupils and 17 teachers responded the survey in Portugal and 170 students and 13 teachers responded the survey in the UK.

Findings shows that over 40% of UK pupils and around 60% of Portuguese pupils consider very easy to find the information they are looking for through a mobile platform and around a third of UK pupils and under 20% of Portuguese pupils often use mobile platforms when they are doing the homework. Moreover, almost half of UK teachers and just over 10% of Portuguese teachers state that they use smartphones and tablets in classes. These overall results suggest that the teaching/learning context could be favourable to the use of these technologies, although the findings highlight important differences between Portugal and the UK which the paper will explore in detail.

[1] Castillo-Manzano, J. I., Castro-Nuño, M., López-Valpuesta, L., Sanz-Díaz, M. T., Yñiguez, R. (2017). To take or not to take the laptop or tablet to classes, that is the question. Computers in Human Behavior, 68, 326–333.
[2] Naismith, L., Lonsdale, P., Vavoula, G., Sharples, M. (2004). Literature Review in Mobile Technologies and Learning Literature Review in Mobile Technologies and Learning. Slough: FutureLab.
m-learning, mobile technology, education technology, pedagogy technology, tablets, smartphones.